Guyanese Appeal Court sustains Exxon ruling
May 24, 2023
Guyanese Appeal Court Justice Rishi Persaud refused to overturn Justice Sandil Kissoon’s ruling ordering ExxonMobil Corporation to provide an unlimited parent company guarantee for its oil operations in the Stabroek Block within 30 days. (Kaieteur News, Stabroek News, see May 11’s Just Caribbean Updates)
Last week Exxon said the ongoing dispute over oil-spill insurance in Guyana could halt production at its Liza I offshore platform there, cutting revenue by about $350 million per month. (Reuters)
The recent court ruling ordering ExxonMobil to provide an unlimited guarantee for potential damages related to its oil operations in the island’s waters could have wide ranging impact in the Caribbean and for environmental legal challenges farther abroad, reports the Guardian.
Climate Justice and Energy
Exxon shareholders are expressing concerns about the potential risks of increased hurricane activity leading to an oil spill in offshore Guyana, reports Kaieteur News.
A landmark climate migrant bill in Colombia would grant legal recognition to people who are uprooted within the country due to the impacts of climate change — forced internal displacement. If passed, it would be the first such law in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region where up to 17 million people could become climate migrants by 2050, the World Bank estimates. (Reuters)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has described as “absolutely regrettable” the unfulfilled promises by developed countries to provide US$100 billion annually since 2020, in support of developing countries impacted by climate change. (Jamaica Gleaner)
A new study by Liana Ricci and Maryline Mangenot assesses how climate finance may promote institutional change through the mainstreaming of adaptation policies at the national level and contribute to more institutional adaptive capacity, looking at Green Climate Fund Readiness Grants in Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Haiti. The “results demonstrate that access to climate finance can create a window of opportunity for countries to accelerate institutional change and allow to make recommendations on how to maximise the impacts adaptation funds.” —
Decolonization and decarbonization should be addressed together to achieve a fair transition to sustainability, argues Mohsen Gul in Medium. He maintains that colonial legacies and exploitation of resources have perpetuated environmental and social injustices, and a just transition requires shifting towards sustainable practices that prioritize marginalized communities.
Caribbean Community Climate Change Center Executive Director Colin Young discusses a new report suggesting that the global climate may exceed a 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold within the next five years. He highlights the urgency of addressing climate change and emphasizes the need for immediate action to mitigate its effects. (NPR)
Consistent, unsustainable anthropogenic activities have led to the degradation of some of the Barbados’ gullies, formations that important terrestrial ecosystems for the island’s biodiversity, but with value that also extends far beyond this, also serving many economic and historical values, writes Kyle Foster in Cari-Bois. (Via Global Voices)
Nineteen children were killed in a fire in a school dormitory in Guyana, in a school about 320 km south of Georgetown that serves mostly Indigenous students. Authorities say the fire was started intentionally, but critics said that the dorms were burglar proofed without providing a fire escape route. (Global Voices)
Stabroek News’ editorial board points to a history of failed safety systems in Guyana’s schools, and concludes that “Those in authority at various levels should have had systems in place to preempt the loss of life. They have failed. Abysmally”.
Jamaican authorities should take care to ensure “the appropriate balance between fighting crime and protecting national security and undue intrusion into people’s rights, including from harassment” when it comes to deploying facial recognition technology, argues the Jamaica Gleaner editorial board.
Chinese Landing, one of Guyana’s smallest Indigenous villages, is fighting in court to regain full control over ancestral land where gold miners once were invited in to boost community development but who now are considered unwelcome interlopers — the landmark decision could determine Indigenous control over their land in other parts of the country, reports Loop News.
Climate change — extreme weather, rising temperatures, drought — and bad U.S. policies play a major role in the Caribbean and Latin American migration crisis, writes Kate Aronoff in the New Republic.
The Caribbean and the World
Russian and Cuban officials and business leaders announced new perks to entice Russian investors into the Cuban market. It is the latest sign of fast-growing economic ties between the two long-time political allies, according to Reuters.
Yvette D Clarke, a U.S. lawmaker of Caribbean descent, has joined 22 of her Congressional colleagues calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to exonerate Jamaican national hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey. (Caribbean Media Corporation)
Haitian vigilante groups, “Bwa Kale,” are fighting back against gangs that have terrorized civilians for years, in the absence of official responses. But rights advocates warn that their actions risk worsening violence in the country, and that the vigilantes could be targeting people who aren’t gang members — either in cases of mistaken identity or to settle unrelated scores, reports the Washington Post.
The Jamaica Gleaner warns against right-wing religious pressure to eliminate an advocate of gay rights and abortion from Jamaica’s Constitutional Reform Committee.
Dutch Justice and Security Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz visited LGBT activists in Curaçao, praising “brave warriors won't let themselves be pushed into the closet”. (Curaçao Chronicle)
An apparent threat of sexual violence at a political protest — caught on audio tape and first thought to be against a Jamaican woman journalist — has caused outrage, partisan bickering on social media, and embarrassment about the Jamaica’s reputation for press freedom, writes Emma Lewis in Global Voices.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is trying to subpoena billionaire Elon Musk for documents in the government’s lawsuit seeking to hold JPMorgan Chase liable for sex trafficking acts committed by businessman Jeffrey Epstein. (Loop News)
Cuban filmmaker Daniel Ross Dieguez (DaRoDe) won the Best Drama award at the Cannes World Film Festival with the feature film The Wait. “The film reflects from subjectivity and poetic dialogue the identity of Guantanamo and its Taino roots”, according to Joven Cuba
Jamaican writer Kwame McPherson was awarded the Commonwealth Short Story Regional Prize for the Caribbean for his story, “Ocoee”. The Commonwealth Foundation describes his story as “an interweaving of African American reality and history, and Caribbean folklore”. — Petchary’s Blog
Trinidadian author Breanne Mc Ivor writes about the challenges of publishing real portrayals of the Caribbean in fiction. “Suggested edits from early readers and agents seemed designed to sand the rough edges off my country and to present a version of Trinidad that would cater to an international audience’s conception of the Caribbean rather than showing our contemporary realities.” (Lit Hub, via Repeating Islands)
Stories from 75 years of Britain’s Caribbean food shops. (Guardian, via Repeating Islands)
25 May — COP28 and Beyond: How to Meet the Needs of Climate-Vulnerable Countries — ACT2025
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